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Merwin: Feel It In Your Sole

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May 29, 2009

Merwin: Feel It In Your Sole

By John Merwin

Here’s another rubber-sole test (with apologies to The Beatles), this time of the Simms StreamTread wading-boot soles that may in the long term help to prevent the spread of invasive species.

This past week I spent two days of trout-river wading while wearing one StreamTread boot and one regular felt-soled boot at the same time. Bottom line: I could tell no difference in traction between the two while wading. The StreamTread soles were at least as good as felt, and that’s the first time I’ve been able to say that about any rubber-soled wading gear.

When walking on muddy or wet-grass streambanks, the StreamTread soles were actually much better than felt. The sharp-edged Vibram/ StreamTread lugs gave a substantial grip on those surfaces where felt soles tend to act like skis.

StreamTread and other rubber soles are much more easily cleaned than felt, of course. Felt soles get continually mashed against the river bottom as one wades, and the small spores of whirling disease, invasive algae, and more get impacted deep into the fabric where they’re difficult to remove by common cleaning--more so than on any other part of the boot, which is why felt soles have become such a concern.

So Streamtread soles are a big step forward in the wading game--the first really practical wading alternative I’ve encountered.

Comments (7)

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from shane wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

Price? I think I know why you didn't list it...

Hey! Look at that Simms ad above this text field I'm typing in! Cool!

Seriously though, this is good. Felt soles scare me. They work great but I hate them for exactly these reasons. Give felt the boot!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from johnmerwin wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

Hi, Shane...
According to Simms' website (link above), the least expensive Simms boot with the new sole is about $130, which isn't bad for a premium wading boot. They also note that you can get a sole set for re-soling your existing boots (if practical) for $44 plus whatever the installation cost happens to be.
As to the adjacent Simms ads: People who know me--and that includes the Simms folks--also know I'm going to say what I think...period. Our ad sales people are in fear and trembling when they see me coming...
And yes, it is good. I was very surprised at how well these soles worked. Thanks for commenting...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

I've never been a big fan of felt. It's great on the slippery rocks but not so good for the mud we see in Ohio. For getting in, getting out and walking back to the truck the lug soles do just find for me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

Hey you're right, not too bad. I was using the $700 waders as a reference.

Keep scaring people. I believe you when you say you'll say what you mean. You're John Merwin. You get to. Just couldn't resist commenting.

You realize many people pretty much worship you and everything you have to say, right? I won't take it that far, but much respect, good sir.

It's especially impressive when you ask us for advice, but maybe it's an ego thing? Because much of the advice we will give you is probably something we learned from your stuff in the magazine over the years, whether we know it or not.

You and Petzal have to have a fight over who is more vaunted by their respective crowds. Do it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe_Cermele wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

I love these soles too. I was skeptical, but highly impressed. I did, however, get some screw-in studs from Simms. As a jetty fisherman, I am always more confident with spikes on any rocks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

Simms has a little advertising going on on the site too... but glad to hear that there is something better coming out than felt wader bottoms... the bottom of the Simms should be able to help with the invasive algae species in much of the freshwater.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from slapartist wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

I just purchased the GUIDE BOOT - STREAMTREAD™ today. As I am new to the world of fly fishing, all the boots I've worn have been felt bottom. This was a big choice for me, "Should I get felt or not?" As a Montana native, I am big on keeping everything clean and beautiful here. Once I was told that Simms is making an effort to rid the felt bottom boots due to disease spreading capabilities, I was sold. And actually, I prefer the rubber sole. As I walked around today in my new boots the traction was superior to that of the felt bottom. I recommend this boot to anyone - beginner or expert.

~ keep Montana clean ~

_n

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

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from shane wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

Hey you're right, not too bad. I was using the $700 waders as a reference.

Keep scaring people. I believe you when you say you'll say what you mean. You're John Merwin. You get to. Just couldn't resist commenting.

You realize many people pretty much worship you and everything you have to say, right? I won't take it that far, but much respect, good sir.

It's especially impressive when you ask us for advice, but maybe it's an ego thing? Because much of the advice we will give you is probably something we learned from your stuff in the magazine over the years, whether we know it or not.

You and Petzal have to have a fight over who is more vaunted by their respective crowds. Do it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

Simms has a little advertising going on on the site too... but glad to hear that there is something better coming out than felt wader bottoms... the bottom of the Simms should be able to help with the invasive algae species in much of the freshwater.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

Price? I think I know why you didn't list it...

Hey! Look at that Simms ad above this text field I'm typing in! Cool!

Seriously though, this is good. Felt soles scare me. They work great but I hate them for exactly these reasons. Give felt the boot!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from johnmerwin wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

Hi, Shane...
According to Simms' website (link above), the least expensive Simms boot with the new sole is about $130, which isn't bad for a premium wading boot. They also note that you can get a sole set for re-soling your existing boots (if practical) for $44 plus whatever the installation cost happens to be.
As to the adjacent Simms ads: People who know me--and that includes the Simms folks--also know I'm going to say what I think...period. Our ad sales people are in fear and trembling when they see me coming...
And yes, it is good. I was very surprised at how well these soles worked. Thanks for commenting...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

I've never been a big fan of felt. It's great on the slippery rocks but not so good for the mud we see in Ohio. For getting in, getting out and walking back to the truck the lug soles do just find for me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe_Cermele wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

I love these soles too. I was skeptical, but highly impressed. I did, however, get some screw-in studs from Simms. As a jetty fisherman, I am always more confident with spikes on any rocks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from slapartist wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

I just purchased the GUIDE BOOT - STREAMTREAD™ today. As I am new to the world of fly fishing, all the boots I've worn have been felt bottom. This was a big choice for me, "Should I get felt or not?" As a Montana native, I am big on keeping everything clean and beautiful here. Once I was told that Simms is making an effort to rid the felt bottom boots due to disease spreading capabilities, I was sold. And actually, I prefer the rubber sole. As I walked around today in my new boots the traction was superior to that of the felt bottom. I recommend this boot to anyone - beginner or expert.

~ keep Montana clean ~

_n

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

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